If you are a real beginner, this post will help you understand the Internet economy and how the businesses are managed on the Internet. If you are a pro, you are free to skim through this post. Before I quit my job as a software developer, I spent a significant amount of time reading books, business models of Internet companies and following successful entrepreneurs of these companies.
It is important that you understand the big picture and then you can assess the best opportunities for your skills and passion.
The Big Picture of the Internet Economy
The Internet began as a research project at US universities during mid 20th century. It was designed as a medium for communication using computers that are geographically distant. Over the course of time, this network of computers spread across the world.
The present-day Internet is very similar to the physical marketplace in your city. Except that it is really huge, accessible for everyone on this planet and a busy place that is active 24×7 throughout the year.
This gives a fantastic opportunity (never, ever in mankind’s history) for every individual to pursue their dreams and passion. Unlike, the earlier industrial revolution era, where people were grouped as workers to perform similar tasks, the Internet now, provides the liberty and platform for every person to showcase their skills.
You may have read about such successful people in your local newspapers, television or from your friends. They too had a similar beginning as you. But they made an attempt to learn this new-era Economy, applied their skills and made huge money with their business.
By the end of this post, I am sure you would have thought of similar plans for your financial success.
Main players in the Internet economy
The role of Governments in Internet Economy is insignificant and have limited influence on this economy. However, it is always better to abide by the local laws and fair conduct.
I assume this is what you have been using the Internet for. You have been a buyer or the consumer of different services like reading/writing mail on Gmail, chatting with friends on Facebook, buying products on Amazon.com, hosting pictures on Instagram and so on.
It doesn’t help being just a buyer. You are like the fodder for other businesses and this will not help you to survive in this economy.
Just as in real life, there are “middlemen” in this economy too. They don’t own or provide the actual products/services but help the businesses reach their prospective consumers and vice-versa. Most of the large technology companies are in this group.
- “Google Search” and “Google Ads” helps the consumers search and find the right product of their choice.
- Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn help form communities and help businesses advertise their products to the right audience.
- Affiliate networks such as Commission Junction, Chilka, etc help businesses advertise their products on publishing platforms like blogs.
- Self-Publishing platforms – CreateSpace, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, NookPress host and help sell e-books from indie authors.
- For physical products, companies like Amazon, Alibaba, Shopify, Etsy, … provide a platform for businesses to sell their wares
- For developers, Apple AppStore, Google PlayStore, Salesforce platforms help sell their applications.
Middlemen are known to make huge profits and so are the facilitators in the Internet economy.
This is where you need to be. Fortunately, as Robert Louis Stevenson says “Everyone lives by selling something”, you and I have been doing it for as long as we remember though subconsciously. However, for you to stay relevant in the Internet economy, you just need to discover how to adapt and sell your skills better.
Remember, there is at least one avenue for everyone in this economy. Let’s start with the popular opportunities
- Freelancing – You get to select work according to your skills/interests and work usually at schedule and place of your choice. According to recent statistics, more than 34% of the workforce are freelancers and this growing trend is similar across other countries as well. You get paid on completion of the milestone or by the hour.
- Blogging – You write content in your blog according to your interests and you get to earn a fair income. The secret is to draw people to your blog to more money.
- Virtual assistants – A Virtual Assistant (VA) is similar to a personal assistant and is expected to provide administrative assistance to clients – again according to your schedule and place. The clients are usually charged per hour.
- E-books – If you have a flair for writing any type of books (Informational, Comics, Personality, Fiction, …), you can self-publish your books and earn a decent amount of money from the sales.
- Sell Physical products – If you manufacture physical products or part of the supply chain, you can use websites like Amazon, Alibaba, Shopify, Etsy, … to promote and sell your wares. With, Amazon FBA program, you can even store your products in Amazon’s warehouse and let them manage the supply chain.
- Answer Surveys – In your leisure, you can answer few surveys and get paid for that. Interesting, isn’t it?
- Online Tutoring – If you are used to teaching children or can help with language translation or coaching, there are plenty of profitable opportunities.
- Bug Bounty – Since past couple of years, many software companies are paying individuals to discover defects in their products. In most cases, the payments are handsome.
- Surf Internet, Watch TV, Play games, Shop online, …. I am not joking, you can get paid. Check InboxDollars site.
There are hundreds of such opportunities and everyone can find one and more such opportunities to earn money.
The main differentiating factor of the Internet is it has allowed individuals to form different congregations (groups) based on their interests. The members of these groups can be from different countries, age, education, gender, and economic strata. You can find these groups of different interests on Facebook, Pinterest, Medium and on other specific niche sites such as Photography, Toys, Cooking, Tesla owners, and all about Pets. If you want to start an online business (e-commerce store or blogging), you need to tap into these groups and target them to your website. It always helps to be clear who are your customers, where can you find them on the Internet and what are their interests. If you ask me how to drive them to your website, well, keep hooked to my website, I will follow-up with all the information you need.
The Internet provides a massive opportunity for every individual to make money. You agree with me, right? I may have oversimplified with my words in this post but I am not wrong that will concerted effort, you can make enough money to match your lifestyle.
Many of them start working on one or more such opportunities as a side hustle and when they are confident of making enough income, they make it as their full-time profession.
Did this post give you a perspective of the Internet economy and the various opportunities to make money? Let me know if there is anything that is holding you back.
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